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THE STATE | THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

Davis to Begin Airing TV Ads Featuring Feinstein

The governor hopes for a boost from the U.S. senator, who has kept a low profile but who will urge voters to let him complete his term.

September 01, 2003|Scott Glover | Times Staff Writer

Gov. Gray Davis' campaign against the Oct. 7 recall effort plans to begin airing two advertisements this week made by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the state's most popular Democratic officeholder, Davis said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

"She basically speaks to the problems of the recall and some of the positive work that I'm focusing on," Davis said in an interview on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

The ads, which Davis plans to begin broadcasting in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, could prove a significant boost for the governor. Feinstein has said that she is against the recall vote, but has maintained a relatively low profile in the campaign.

Feinstein declined comment on Sunday, but sources familiar with the television ads -- paid for by Davis' anti-recall committee -- said they feature the senator looking directly into the camera as she urges voters to allow Davis to complete his term.

Davis was joined on the Sunday television talk show circuit by two of the leading candidates for his job -- Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks.

Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger did not make any public appearances Sunday, but still managed to make news when a campaign official disclosed that the actor planned to skip all but one of several planned candidate debates, including one scheduled Wednesday in Contra Costa County.

The announcement prompted an accusation by state Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres that Schwarzenegger was "ducking" the debate because he wasn't prepared, a charge that Sean Walsh, a spokesman for the Schwarzenegger campaign, denied.

Walsh said the campaign was completing an agreement with the California Broadcasters Assn. for a debate in the third week of September. Walsh said he expected that would be the only debate in which Schwarzenegger would participate.

Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), Schwarzenegger's main debate negotiator, said last month that the campaign was "open to one, two or three debates."

Schwarzenegger was a chief target for the governor and the other candidates. Asked by Stephanopoulos to respond to Schwarzenegger's charge that he is a "sell-out" because of his heavy fund-raising, Davis accused the Republican candidate of breaking his word.

"Mr. Schwarzenegger promised not to take any money, but now he's raising money with the best of them. So he's already broken that promise," Davis said.

Schwarzenegger has raised about $1.5 million for his campaign in addition to about $2 million of his own money. He has several large fund-raisers scheduled for this month.

In addition, Davis said, referring to the state's budget and energy crises, until Schwarzenegger sits in the governor's office "-- and I don't think he's going to have a chance to -- he's really in no position to criticize what we've done until he tells us how he would have solved the $38-billion problem, how he would have kept the lights on in California."

McClintock, interviewed on CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer," charged that Schwarzenegger had "surrounded himself with the same team that imposed the biggest tax increase by any state in American history" -- a reference to tax increases signed into law by former Gov. Pete Wilson.

Schwarzenegger's chief financial advisor, billionaire Warren E. Buffett, is "probably the most outspoken advocate for higher taxes in the country," McClintock said.

Schwarzenegger "has refused repeatedly -- every time he's been asked -- to take a no-tax pledge; he has pointedly refused to do so," McClintock said.

"I am very concerned about what Arnold Schwarzenegger would do, once the election was over."

Walsh, the Schwarzenegger spokesman, countered that the actor-candidate's tax plan had received "the stamp of approval" of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

Bustamante used his appearance on Blitzer's program to solicit campaign donations.

"I'm not one of those millionaire candidates, like on the other side of the aisle, that can just write any size check they want," said Bustamante, who grew up in a blue-collar family in the Central Valley.

"So I'm asking people to help me, to join me, wherever you're at in the state of California -- small checks, big checks, please."

Bustamante insisted that he was not in competition with Davis; he said his opponents were Republicans Schwarzenegger, McClintock and Peter V. Ueberroth.

At one point, Blitzer asked Bustamante to respond to Schwarzenegger's comment that he was "Gray Davis with a receding hairline and with a mustache."

"All you receding men in California unite," Bustamante quipped. "I'm your candidate."

*

Times staff writer Mark Z. Barabak contributed to this report.

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